Do preachers have what to say?


The sermon is a strange phenomenon. In the church we are used to it, but we are used to very different kinds of sermons. The Roman Catholic tradition is also preached, but the Eucharist is the most important part of the service. Once I visited a church service, in which the pastor apologized for his sore throat. He wouldn't preach today, so there was nothing but a Eucharist. I loved it! It wouldn't be possible in a Protestant worship. Well, then someone will have a sermon, but there must be preached. Why, anyway? That in itself is an inappropriate question. Why does it have to be preached? Why don't we just celebrate supper? And when preaching, what is the purpose of that? In an oracle pass God's word? That's how it's often seen. It's frankly creepy, it's how I get announced sometimes. We are now going to listen to the Word of God, may I ask you, brother? And here I go to preach the Word of God.
There is also a development in this. In evangelical circles it has been and is often the custom to say that you speak. We do not say, “who preaches today?” but “who speaks today?” Fortunately, the answer is not God. I even suspect it comes from opposite consideration. Sermons was too high and untouchable. Speak had to be, because then one could speak and test the others. That went two ways. On the one hand, there is only testing. Everyone always knows everything better and will show it. A sermon is “but” a speech and we check it for accuracy. The other side is deification. A speech then becomes an oracle, untouchable and straight from heaven.
The sermon is the most beautiful and impossible thing that exists. Let's give a speech for a few hundred (or more or less) people. The group consists of men and women aged twelve (sometimes four!!) up to a hundred years. The whole range of training is in between. People who found primary education (basic education nowadays) too difficult and people with university education. Believers with a heavily reformed background and disappointed from all too charismatic congregations. (I'm just talking about my own situation). Sick, wounded, disappointed people, who sometimes almost turn away from faith and newly converted young believers who go out “for the Lord”. Friends and family, enemies (which, of course, you also love). Not to mention all those faces that you know personally with their personal history, sometimes of disappointment in God, serious sexual abuse in their youth or fear of the “god of vengeance”. In short, the target group is the whole world and it cannot be defined.

#preek #evangelische #kerk #orakel #misbruik #angst